Sunday, May 8, 2011

A special message

To our Grammy, Nonnie, Gramma, Grandma Linda, Nana, Nana Agnes, Aunt Suzanne, and Aunt Renee (plus all the other beautiful mommies out there:)

Have a lovely day!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Birthday Luke!

Yes, the months have passed by without me writing or checking in.

However, I couldn't let today go by without acknowledging this very special day.
Today, Luke is two years old!

I've had a video camera since the twins were born (wonderful incredibly thoughtful gift) that has caused me more headaches and problems than you could possibly imagine (contrary to what my mom believes, I am not terribly technology advanced and even the simplest of gadgets tends to leave me scratching my head in confusion.)

Shortly after Luke was born, I decided to upgrade my camera to a DSLR (you know, because when you get one of those you automatically feel like a professional photographer, regardless of your lack of skill. At least until you see what the pros can do.) Anyway, I loved my camera, and I took a lot of pictures.
But alas, technology evades me once again. My camera randomly stopped working one day in February, and that was that. (I can get it fixed, and will, one of these days. Yes... one of these days... )

Anyway, yesterday I realized that Luke's birthday was upon us, and I'd be completely without any way to document the day. So the kids and I headed off to the store, and I decided Luke's birthday + Mother's Day = great justification for buying myself a new video camera. A very simple-to-use, even-a-monkey-could-figure-this-out video camera.

This is what I got:

and because of that, I can now share this:

We had decided not to have a planned party this year. We learned our lesson with the twins, as the "terrible two's" came on fast and hard with them. We figured it'd be the same with Luke, so instead, many months ago, purchased tickets to see Sesame Street Live (performers on stage) in lieu of a party.

However, seeing that Easter was so late this year, we ended up doing a family celebration with both sides of my family at our Easter dinners. So he actually ended up with not just one party, but two. Today, we decided we couldn't go without celebrating, so we took the kids to Chuck E Cheese (first time for any of them. They loved it, of course.) Between the impromptu Easter/birthday parties, today's celebration, and next week's Sesame Street concert, this kid basically is getting a month long birthday celebration! His poor brothers keep asking me, "When is our birthday?" :)   I hope they aren't let down when they only get one celebration instead of four!

So, Luke is now two.
Here are some current happenings with him:
- He can count to 10. Easily. Sometimes he'll go to twelve just for the fun of it.
- He knows almost all letters by sight. I'm completely amazed by this. Maybe it's normal, I have no idea, but to me, he's a downright genius.
- He's in gymnastics. Soon I'll post videos, because it's really fun to watch. My sister got him lessons because we were worried he was a bit anti-social. This was in December. By February, he had turned into just about the friendliest little social guy around. Who knew? Anyway, he loves gymnastics, and today his brothers finally got to join their own class (after lamenting for weeks about missing all the fun.)
- He talks. A lot. We are working on tone of voice, because he's got two volumes: loud  and really loud.
- He thinks he is one of the big boys. Of course.
- Somehow he manages to stay awake really late every night. Then he gets up really early every morning. Sleep is to Luke as oil is to water.  We're workin' on it.
- He's fantastic. Just plain fantastic. God knew what he was doing when he surprised us with Luke, because he is just plain an amazing little boy. We love you, kiddo!!  Happy 2nd birthday to you!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Is this thing on?

Anybody out there?

I know I've been away for a while, okay, a LONG while.
I could make excuses, but instead, how about I just apologize instead. SORRY!

We're in the midst of winter, life is continuing as usual. Chaotic, happy, busy.

Joel and 'Tisse (Evan continues to go by his middle name, which has been shortened to one syllable. Weird to write, easy to say, and for those who are wondering how to pronounce it in their heads, it rhymes with "peace",)...
Anyway, Joel and 'Tisse continue to go to preschool four days a week, 2 1/2 a day (really almost four hours, once you count the bus ride.) They love their teacher, I love their teacher, they love the bus, I love the bus. All is good. They are learning a lot, speech is improving (though still about a year behind, it's nice to finally understand some of what they have to say.  Pronunciation isn't really too big of an issue; it's mostly that neither, especially 'Tisse, like to use sentences. Stories are still told in a mix of words, jibberish, and hand gestures. Joel was probably the inventor of sign language in a past life... he can tell entire movie plots through a series of signs, and people can understand about 90% of it!)

Personalities are now really individual with the twins. 'Tisse has been interested in watching Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen (when they were making the pre-teen movies) because he likes the pretty girls. :)  He continues to be a huge soccer fan as well, and is interested in football and other ball sports.  Joel is really into music. He asked for a guitar the entire month before Christmas. I don't really know what put it in his head, but he was adamant that it was the one gift he wanted. So, we got him a toy guitar (not what I would have pictured, but he picked it out himself) and sure enough, he loves that thing and plays with it every day.  Last night I put on Elton John and he was rockin' out, dancing and playing guitar to the video. (Ignore the fact that it was Elton John; I'm a huge fan, so these boys are getting a taste of the greatest music ever at an early age. Hehe.)
Sharks are a big deal to both boys. Basically, life revolves around cars, trains, girls, ball sports, guitars, and sharks. Can you get any more boy than that?

For Christmas we asked for contributions toward a bunk bed set for the twins (they are already swimming in clothes and toys, and really only play with about a tenth of what they have, so there wasn't much reason to ask for anything else.) Thanks to our generous family, we were able to purchase a gorgeous hardwood bunk set that should last them forever. It is currently set up as two twin beds, since they aren't ready for a top bunk yet. They are set up in two separate rooms, and since both want to share a room, they just sleep together on one bunk every night. All three boys sleep in the same room now, which I love. Beds in one room, toys in the other, makes for a very clean bedroom and contained playroom! I love it. Nonnie (Janice, my stepmom) had told me many times that I would soon want a closed off playroom for the boys (instead of the entire downstairs set up that we've had for years), and she was right! Our house is finally, SLOWLY starting to once again take on a more homey appearance (instead of the Toy Store theme we've had for the past three years.) We've even got a new piece of artwork on the wall! Christmas gift from Todd to me. I love it.... we've been living here for over seven years and finally have something on the wall.

Luke is, well, he's just plain awesome.  He's naughty, he's adventurous, he's stubborn, he's a genius (I think.) He's seriously just plain a really COOL kid. He thinks he's three and can do whatever his older brother do. He bosses them around, steals there food, tries to start wrestling matches, takes their toys. He's CUTE beyond belief. He drives me nuts every single day, but I can't help but love him, even in all the madness. He's 20 months now and getting about fifteen time-outs a day; when he goes to time-out, he'll either try and sneak out, or tuck his arms behind his head, stretch his legs out, and relax. What a booger. He's been a big fan of Dora until the past few weeks. We bought the boys a train set for Christmas, and now he's really into watching Thomas the Train instead. I'm happy about that, because I was pretty tired of Dora and Boots.

Random Recent pics:

'Tisse, looking rather old here, isn't he?

Christmas program at school. Joel in red, teacher behind him. Speech therapist in red, 'Tisse hidden next to her.

They love school and really love their teachers! I think she's pretty fond of them, too.

Joel; he's a ham. He LOVES getting his picture taken and poses frequently (usually making really goofy faces.)

Awesome kids.

Look, I got a watch for Christmas! Thanks, Grammy!

Our very first snowman. Not sure why Daddy went for the "evil" look.

Christmas jammies. Go Bears! (They all really like watching football.) 

Bathtime is great!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Child's Prayer

A conversation with God, starring Mommy and Matisse:

Mommy: "Father God, thank you for our food"
'Tisse: "Yeah, food. And ba-pa"
"Yes, thank you for backpacks."
"An' bus"
"Thank you for our bus."
"Yeah, uder bus"
"Um, okay, thank you for the other bus, too."
"Yeah, uder bus"
"Okay, God, thank you for ALL the buses in the whole wide world."
"Scratch that. Not all the buses. Just thank you for the ones we can ride and the play with each day."
"Yeah. Ma-men."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

October: A Photo Journal

Well, I was going to just put up a bunch of photos for the month, but seeing as Blogger is messing with my head right now (really, I just uploaded a ton of photos and they disappeared immediately. Cruel and unusual torture, I swear...) Anyway, I'll start at the end, and the rest will have to come later. Meaning, another day.

Halloween:  Our Little  Chefs   Robots   Ghosts 

Luke slept through trick-or-treating earlier in the day, but I forced him allowed him to go out later.

They INSISTED on being ghosts this year. I didn't even know they were aware of what a ghost is!

They screamed bloody murder when I tried to put the makeup on them. Oh well. Still cute (and comfy, too!)

Off they go!

Swiper, no swiping! Swiper, no swiping! Swiper, no... uh oh! (Dora reference, for those that aren't in the DFC. Dora Fan Club, that is.)

We bought the owl specifically to rid of the squirrels in the yard.  Apparently we forgot to tell the squirrel.

See the lollipop sticks around him? Those are the ones he had already eaten.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Food Allergy Awareness Walk

Joel's Food Allergy Awareness Webpage

In honor of the boys 3rd birthday, please take a moment to click the link above to view details about the walk we are participating in next month.  The goal of the walk is to raise money for food allergy research, a subject obviously very close to our hearts. 
We are hoping to raise $250, so every little bit counts! Thanks!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Third Birthday Boys

The twins turned three years old this week! Amazing.  We decided to skip the great big party thing this year, and instead opted for a few smaller gatherings.

Birthday Celebration I:  We bought the kids' tickets for a ride on Lake Michigan for the 2010 Tall Ships Tour.  (Daddy was supposed to come, but had "very important plans" that day and couldn't cancel.  So Grammy happily joined us instead.)
Our vessel was the Appledore IV:
I planned to take photos after we finished sailing (I figured it'd probably be best to actually hang on to my children during the sail itself!)  Plans never quite work out as intended, though; by the time we were docking, both boys were squeezing their legs together, begging to go potty.  As soon as we docked, I rushed with them off the boat and across to the nearest what I thought was the nearest restroom.
Hurray for Google images! This isn't our ride, and obviously isn't
Chicago, but it IS the Appledore IV!

Here's one of the few images I actually took on board. You can see how much attention they give me when I try and take pictures.

After sailing, we spent a few hours walking around Navy Pier through large crowds of people.  I recently learned of a great tip for taking kids to crowded events: write your cell phone number on your child's arm, so if he gets lost, someone can instantly call you. That day, I also learned the caveat to this tip: you actually have to have a pen that writes well enough on skin so someone can read it.  Instead, I settled for writing it on a scrap of paper and shoving it into each boys' pocket.  Happily, we stayed together and never had to find out if this trick actually works or not. (When the boys came home, Todd later was telling me, in amazement, about the random piece of paper that he found in Joel's pocket with my phone number on it.  I'm not quite sure how he thought it got there...?)

We came back and brought the boys to our new favorite restaurant, Red Robin, to celebrate with a birthday dinner.  (This is "our favorite restaurant" because they are very allergy friendly and have a great plan in place to keep things as safe as possible.)  They ended the meal with a song for the boys, to which each child promptly hid his head in Daddy's arms.  They brought out the obligatory ice cream dessert, which the boys could not eat (due to allergy risk), but the adults could (except for me, as I'm allergic to milk.) So instead, the  boys were given birthday mandarin oranges.  Mmm, mmm!

Birthday Celebration II:  We were scheduled to have a small birthday party with some old friends in our backyard.  The theme was a campout, and I had great plans to make it the greatest campout the boys had ever experienced! (I chose the theme at the beginning of the summer, assuming we'd be taking the kids camping a couple of times this year.  We never did.  So this would have actually been the only campout they've ever experienced.)  But, seeing as our family motto is "plan a little, change a lot", the week before the party, sickness+mosquitoes+whatever else forced us to cancel the camping party.  Instead, we decided to go a local bouncy land called Monkey Joe's.  It's filled with giant inflatable slides and mazes that the kids can enjoy to their little hearts' content!  Everyone had a great time!

After finishing playtime, we headed over to Colonial Cafe for dinner, presents and birthday desserts.

 Playtime with friends, waiting for the "surprise" to arrive. 

When the waitress brought out "The Kitchen Sink" (a giant sundae served in a sink), we anticipated a slightly different reaction from the boys.  Evan Matisse laid his head down, and Joel got up from the table and stood behind me.  At least the rest of the kids enjoyed it!

Don't act too enthusiastic, Evan Matisse!

After the singing, everyone (including the twins) dug into their giant dessert.  Luke didn't get a bowl, but he did get to eat the bananas!

And of course, what's a birthday party without cake?  I made these ice cream cone cupcakes to fit the setting:
Some kids ate them up; others (like mine) wanted nothing to do with them.  I'm just going to tell myself it's because they were too full. 

It was a great birthday for the boys, and very stress free (a first for me!)  The celebration isn't quite over; we'll be getting together with my dad's side this weekend to celebrate.  Lucky kids, they don't just get a birthday, they get a birthday month!

Three year checkup stats:
Joel- 30.5lbs, not very tall (I forget the heights), will be needing glasses in a year or so (astigmatism in both eyes).  Tiny, but otherwise healthy!
Evan Matisse- 28lbs, not very tall either, great eyesight, healthy boy! 

Oh, and just to show how much they are indeed "boys" now (not babies), you notice my new way of referring to Evan?  That's because he and Joel have both decided they prefer to call him Matisse (his middle name) instead of Evan.  We parents are slowly trying to make the switch (which I actually agree with, since Evan seems to be way too popular of a name these days.) If I show the boys baby photos of themselves, they will tell me the one picture is "Goal" (their way of saying "Joel"), and the other pictures is "Teese" (what they usually call Evan Matisse.)  They've really committed to the change!